Jessica Smarsch turns body rhythms into clothes

“Commercial machines can be used creatively...”


In the run-up to our New Fashion Perspectives exhibition, which rolls into Amsterdam very soon, Glamcult is giving you a glimpse into the exciting work that will be on show. First up we’d like you to meet Jessica Smarsch, a young American designer who—among others—developed a software program that connects body movement to graphic pattern generation through live animation. Hello future!

What does being a fashion designer in 2016 mean to you?

I wouldn’t call myself a “fashion designer”. In my work I focus on the body and the textile, and the relationship between the two. In this specific project, textile outcomes become worn forms, but the term “fashion” has far too much associated meaning.

Is there anything specific that distinguishes your perspectives, ideals or methodology from that of other designers or artists?

Humans spent centuries toiling with fibres to create painstakingly intricate textiles for daily or ritual use. Little by little, machines to satisfy demands replaced that hand process. In the process, a principle aspect of (primarily) the woman’s legacy was also replaced, along with important cultural narrative, not to mention the beneficial aspects of textile making as a meditative process. In my work, I seek to reintegrate body rhythms and narrative back into the textile process using digital tools as an aid and the industrial machine as a creative tool.


If there were just one thing you want people to remember about your work at the exhibition, what would it be?

The impact and importance of the human mind and body on the designed object, particularly in terms of the making process.

As a young designer, how do you feel about the current speed and state of fashion as an industry? How does your work respond to this?

Our commercial machines are incredible and can be used very creatively. This is a far more interesting way to regard them than as tools for efficiency.

How do you think new (fashion) technologies will develop in the near future?

As wearable technologies become more and more accessible and our connection with material objects becomes more and more foreign, I believe designers will continue to look for new ways of connecting the body to design.


The work of Jessica Smarsch is on show at New Fashion Perspectives between 15 and 24 April at Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam.

Photography: Lisa Klappe


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